31 July 2009

Akihabara 2009 Day Trip

Possibly one of the most anticipated part of going to Japan? (laughs)

Day 4: Spending the whole afternoon in Akihabara.

Note - Again no pictures of shops' interiors as there's an emphasis on the rule that no photography is allowed.

Breakfast: Onigiri. Onigiri's are usually packaged this way so that the seaweed is not in contact with the rice in order to keep dry and fresh

There are a few but simple steps on preparing it. First off tear the middle part around the onigiri.

Pull one side of the package - this automatically gets the seaweed to wrap around the rice.

Pull the other side as well...

Done! Now the onigiri is ready to be eaten~

Lunch - Tonkatsu in Sunshine City.

It's worth mentioning that me and mother noticed a rice dispenser in the kitchen. With a press of a button rice falls out like grains into the rice bowl, always in equal amounts. This saves the time and effort of having to scoop out rice into the bowl and keeping consistency. o_o

Fried shrimps for mother.

A crisper look at the tonkatsu

Anyway, enough with the food. After the tonkatsu lunch, I went to Akihabara by myself while the rest continued shopping in Ikebukuro.

Akihabara JR Station Electric Town Entrance - remember to take this exit when you got there - the Chuo Avenue (中央通り), which is literally the high street of Akihabara.

Getting out of Akihabara JR Station and the first noticeable building is usually the Radio Kaikan.

There are 6 floors to it as follows (source from the guide book I use, excluding small shops):
  • 7/F - Yellow Submariine (Game Shop / Scale Shop), VOLKS (Rental Showcase)
  • 6/F - VOLKS (Akihabara branch)
  • 4/F - Kaiyodo, Yellow Submarine (G-Shop)
  • 3/F - K-BOOKS (whole floor)
  • 2/F - Kotobukiya

1/1 Kenshiro statue outside Kaiyodo shop
You are already sold out.

Eva Unit 04s on display.

Uchusen (宇宙船, i.e. spaceship). The "Animate" shops in Hong Kong are related to this, and not the ones of the same name in Japan. Confusing, isn't it?

Volks Akihabara branch. Finally got to see the Dollfies myself, and

VOLKS Rental Showcase - basically a store with many labelled shelves so you pick what stuff you like and grab them all at the end.

Example right here - say I want this particular black plane (which is seen in my loot post last month), then I grab a form and write down the shelf number it belongs to as well as the item's number. Write down how number of items wanted and hand it to the cashier at the end. A member of staff will lead me to each shelf I've requested and unlock them so I can grab them. Once everything's ok I pay the money and it's done.

Such shops are great for hunting smaller toys such as gashapons, shokugans, and other harder-to-get items that may be gone in many places already.

Kotobukiya store on ground floor. There's also one on the 2nd floor but I will show that on the next trip post.


PSP game Project DIVA, not yet released at the time of visit.

Nendo Miku as well as a Miku Itansha on display there

AsoBitCity - hobby chain stores. These stores tend to focus more on models and such, so it's not so much of a hit for figure collectors.

Setsuna's dream of becoming a Gundam has finally come true XD

Animate store in Akihabara. Not as big as the one in Ikebukuro, but definitely more crowded.

Generally Animate always sells things at retail price, so if you are looking for cheap stuff, this may not be the place to go for in the first place as other stores tend to sell the same items for a discount.

Liberty - another hobby chain store. They are pretty varied so you have to look and see what each particular branch focuses on (e.g. models, figures, games etc)

A huge poster of Prime Minister Aso Taro

Figure Hobby Kan - I surprisingly took a long time loitering around there - many second hand or resold items can be found there. T'is one of these places where you can look for hard-to-find items such as exclusive figures etc.

Notice how many buildings in Tokyo are thin and tall. Hong Kong has many highrises but are usually not as squeezed as Tokyo's.

SofMap is another

Nightlife in Akihabara

GiGO - various arcade games can be played there, and each floor are sorted by game categories. Ikebukuro has one too which I've forgotten to mention last time.

LaOX Hobby - another hobby chain store similar to AsoBitCity (i.e. mostly models and such), so another one that figure collectors may like to skip.

Mini 4WD courses spotted in LaOX Hobby store. When I was little there was a hype of mini 4WDs in Hong Kong (obviously brought by Japan's hype wave), and many kids had their own mini 4WD. It's nostalgic seeing this popping up again.

Nightlife in Akihabara 2

Angel Beats! is getting animated soon. Anyone know anything about it?

Dream Club; I somehow almost mistakened it as IDOLM@STER

On my way back in Ikebukuro there's really heavy rain going on there. Even with a raincoat and an umbrella my lower half has gone completely soaked.

But t'is good that my mother and sister have ordered me a large curry rice dish in advance for my dinner, which was a good way to end the day.

I couldn't finish going through Akihabara in one day, mainly because I got stuck in some shops and loitered around too much. As a result I ended up only visiting one side of Chuo Ave, and had to revisit it again on the next day. Since my sister was still on her shopping spree with her friend, that didn't cause interference to my compromised plan.
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26 July 2009

ACGHK 2009 Coming soon


July is coming to an end, and the annual ACGHK (Animation-Comic-Game Hong Kong) will be coming up soon - a convention focusing on animations, comics, and games in Hong Kong.

Date: 31st July - 4th August 2009
Time: 10am - 9pm daily ; closes at 8pm on 4th August
Venue: Hall 1, Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre
Area: 126000 sq ft

Like last year, there will be a lot of stuff going on for the event, and it's not just limited to Japanese stuff - there are manga, games, and other media from various places including Hong Kong and China. I will only mention a few interesting points below:

  • Entries for the Hong Kong Dengeki modelling tournament will be up. Without a doubt I will do a coverage on it like last year.

  • Microsoft will host a large area for people to play varioous XBOX 360 games.

  • Autograph signing will be available from many authors and artists. Those from Japan will include Isuna Hasekura (支倉凍砂, author of Spice and Wolf), Mikuni Shimokawa (下川みくに, singer–songwriter), Shoko Nakagawa (中川翔子, idol singer).

  • Mikuni Shimokawa and Shoko Nakagawa will make guest apperance and perform at 19:30 on 31st July and 1st August respectively.

  • Competitions will include cosplays, image girl (don't really know what that's about), online games, and singing.

  • Doujin stuff will be available

    As mentioned by Wikipedia, the name of this fair has been changed several times as categories of products and services in ACGHK have been extending in the recent years. When it was first started in 1999 it was originally called Hong Kong Comics Festival (香港漫畫節). In 2004 the convention was sponsored by Animax, and subsequently it was renamed 2004 Animax Summer FUNtasy for that particular year. In 2006 and 2007, the convention named Ani-Com Hong Kong (香港動漫節), and was held together with the Hong Kong Games Fair (香港電玩展). Since 2008 they have merged together to become what we call today.

    I will attend the convention sometime during the weekend. Will try to take as many photos as possible like last year but don't expect me to come back with lots and lots of things.

    It's only less than one week before it starts~

    Official Site (Chinese):
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  • 23 July 2009

    Whole Day in Ikebukuro

    Or strictly speaking, a whole afternoon only... -_-;;

    We were a bit too tired after not sleeping on a proper bed for the first 2 days of the trip, and we've pretty much the third day's morning just to sleep.

    To start of the day, we have some Hokkaido milk bought from a supermarket near our hotel - in fact we've always bought our breakfast from convenience stores and supermarkets.

    Well, let's get going on this short day in Ikebukuro.

    Tuna rice with half boiled egg for lunch inside Sunshine City.

    Animate - this one is actually bigger than the one in Akihabara, and less crowded too ^^

    Animate is literally just opposite Sunshine City Prince Hotel, so it's not hard to spot. Address as followed in case one's interested:

    I can only do such location spots for the shops in Ikebukuro (I doubt I can do this for Akihabara I afraid), as there are fewer and most were found via the guide book I've used as well as Google Maps.

    K-BOOKS are stores which will have anime lated merchandise that Animate (which is just a few blocks away) will not provide.

    K-Books for ladies, selling various things oriented for girls including cosplay stuff.

    A map showing other branches of K-BOOKS in Ikebukuro - there's an Anime store, Premium store, doujin store, and a comics store.

    Zaku II J version 2.0 and RX-78-2 version 1.5 Kawaguchi version as spotted in Animate - not easy to get outside Japan (at all)

    Btw there won't be much photos inside shops in my posts, mainly due to the fact that there are "no photos" sign here and there in most shops I've encountered.

    コミックとらのあな (COMIC toranoana) - a shop selling seiyuu CDs, DVDs, visual novels, as well as various doujin stuff. There's quite a lot of explicit stuff for doujin in case you're interested ^^;

    The location is around here:

    VOLKS store in Ikebukuro. Other than stuff specifically from VOLKS (e.g. Dollfies, figures, and some plamos) there are other stuff available too such as gunpla and figmas etc.

    It's right here in case you're interested:

    Walking down Ikebukuro

    Promotional stuff for Gurren Lagann the Movie: Lagann (i.e. the 2nd movie) found outside a cinema. It looks like that they've left it untouched for nearly 2 months.

    Guys playing Gundam VS Gundam NEXT - couldn't leave the spot for quite a while ^^;

    Tekken 6 arcades

    Melty Blood - a well known fighting game based on Tsukihime.

    Was going to mention this but forgot about it until LEon asked me in the comments below: Arcade games in Japan tend to be a bit more expensive than those in Hong Kong (many which are imported from Japan); Japanese ones tend to cost around 100 - 300 Yen, depending on what you play, but Hong Kong ones usually only cost up to 6HKD, which is still less than 100 Yen!

    USB Missile Launcher for those who wants to launch these foam projectiles at your enemies in your office XD

    There's an okonomiyaki restaurant inside Sunshine City where you can do one yourself~

    Accidently called this yakisoba earlier as this one does contain some. Thanks to Blowfish for correcting me on this.

    First of all, you mix the content/batter together...

    Put the mixture on the teppan (metal plate) which is in the middle of the table and let it fry.

    Make sure you make a circle shape so it can fit inside a cover...

    ... Like so. Let it cook inside for a few minutes and flip it to let it cook on the other side. There's a tiny hourglass for you to use so you can time it well when making your own okonomiyaki.

    Add some okonomiyaki sauce on top of the okonomiyaki after it's been fried on both sides.

    Add some katsuobushi as a finishing touch, and tadah - it's done. Time to enjoy the okonomiyaki now~

    Yep, that pretty much sums things up for the 3rd day. Not much happened to be honest, as my sister and her friend spent the whole day shopping just inside Sunshine City and I walked around those places mentioned above pretty much by myself for most of the time.

    When I've found out that they're planning to shop in Ikebukuro for the next day too, I've decided to go to Akihabara that day ^^;

    Actually, I didn't manage to visit Akihabara within one whole day on the next day, which was mostly got to do with pondering around for too long in in a few shops, so I made a short return on the day after that (after visiting Nakano Broadway beforehand). Have been wondering whether I should do both Akihabara + Nakano Broadway visits in one single post, or keep them separate as though I'm doing them day by day like I'm doing so right now.

    Hope you like this post on Ikebukuro and find the addresses above useful. Do ask me if you need a bit more info on something (can't guarantee answers but will try my best)!
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